virgin blog

I was toying with the idea of blogging around May last year(2010),just after I passed my Knowledge of London torture.I even went as far as setting up a website and had written several items on it,some I thought being very good.I never uploaded it for public viewing though, rather using it more as a practice tool.More and more people are blogging.I think of it as the same as writing your Facebook status but with a bit more detail and ethusiasum.We seem to be moving towards a culture of non verbal communication.People are texting,blogging,tweeting and commenting.We are losing the ability to communicate verbally.So im jumping on the bandwagon.If you can’t beat them,join them! I’m gonna give it a go.I might lose interest in a month.Who knows?

But don’t worry.I wont tire you with drivel about what I had for breakfast or anything like that.Ill try to be intresting.Thought provoking even.R.

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Going back to my roots

It was 27 years ago when I last walked through the gates into Ash Grove bus Garage in Hackney. I was only 19 years old and I was about to undergo 3 weeks of intensive training to become a London Bus driver.

The instructor drove us to a lay-by on the A12 in an old route-master and barked at me to get in the drivers seat and try not to ruin his upcoming retirement pension by steering us all into the bushes.

Memories of those old bone shakers came flooding back as I wandered around the depot trying to remember the layout 27 years earlier.

I had a lot of fun driving the route masters. When it rained, you could guarantee you would end up getting wet on the inside too. Wipers were often rendered useless as the rain would seep inside the windscreen and make it down to your feet which were usually frozen solid as the heaters hardly ever worked plus you could see the ground through cracks in the cab floor.

Indicating would give you repetitive strain injuries as the knob to indicate was on the dash and you had to stretch to reach it.

Climbing in and out of the cab was never a gracious affair. I once lost my footing climbing out at Victoria station and ended up sprawled out on the tarmac much to the bemusement of around 50 passengers who were patiently waiting to board upon my arrival.

Potholes were fun to. The driver seat didn’t have any of the modern day luxuries that today’s buses have such as lumbar support or springs et cetera. Run over a pothole and you could quite easily break your neck, put your back out or smash your fingers on the metal steering wheel.

I put most of my aches and pains I suffer from now down to those old dinosaurs.

When I joined the buses all those years ago London Transport had recently privatised the bus network into 12 separate companies. Ash Grove garage was part of London Forest. London Forest had four garages. Clapton, which is where I was to be based, Walthamstow which has now been turned into flats, Ash Grove and Leyton.

I’d only been with London Forest for about 6 months or so when a row broke out between management and what was then a very strong union. It was over tendering and pay. Anyway the end result was we were all ordered out on strike. The strike lasted 3 weeks. No buses ran out of those four garages.

I can’t remember what happened next or how but London Forest became obsolete and we were all taken under by one of the other companies called Leaside buses. Leaside were eventually taken over by Cowie and Cowie changed their name to Arriva.

Pictured below is RM5. You could almost guarantee you’d see someone taking a photo of this bus as you drive it around town on route 38. It’s one of the first production Routemasters. She was an old girl. Built in 1954. She was a pig to drive until they ripped the original engine out and put a new one in. Trouble is she never sounded the same again.

Yesterday’s visit to Ash Grove was different in that I was there on a minibus driving awareness and passenger safety course, organised by the charity I volunteer for.

Unfortunately I let my PCV license expire without renewing it. My bus driving days are well and truly over. But it was a big part of my life. One that changed my future but will always be a memorable past time.

#midas #ashgrove #londonbus #routemaster

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Faith matters

I love this quote from The Bible…

“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy-seed, say, you would tell this mountain, `Move!` and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn`t be able to tackle.”

Just over 6 years ago me and Kelie were walking along Central Street and we noticed  some new builds in their early stages of construction.

We were getting very close to the time that we needed to upgrade to a bigger property. We had been in our flat for almost two and a half years and needed another bedroom. Things were cramp to say the least. We`d been, as far as im concerned, extremely blessed to have been offered our first flat with very few points and little waiting time. That was a miracle in itself. But the time was fast approaching for us to move.

We thought it would be nice to live in the new builds we were passing but we really knew that was just not going to happen. We had only just put our names back on the list again for a bigger property and it can take years and a lot more points than we had before you were even considered. It would be a miracle if we even got a viewing.

I secretly said a quick prayer as we passed asking for a flat in this new development.

I truly believe in miracles. Also in answers to prayer. I can’t go into it now but miracles have taken place several times in my life. Stuff that couldn`t possibly be explained or have been a coincidence.

For me, my faith is a response to need. When ive needed something my faith in God has provided.

But the quote at the top of this blog always makes me feel pretty rubbish at faith. It really slams home the fact that no matter how faithful you think you are, in fact your faith is almost nothing. Its smaller than a poppy-seed. I’ve never seen the Pope move a mountain. Imagine that, the Pope`s faith is smaller than a poppy-seed! What size must mine be? Minute.

But to put your faith into something you can`t see is no easy task.

I’ve never seen a million pounds. In fact I don’t think I even know anyone that has. But I know it exists. I have faith that a million pounds exists even though I’ve never or probably never will see the money. People on the tv talk about it, I read about it in the newspaper. Same as God really. People talked and wrote about him in The Bible. And that’s where my faith comes from.

But my smaller than a poppy-seed faith has it`s benifits. No, I may not be able to tell mountains to move, but I can ask and receive.  Thats how my faith works for me. And I’m living proof of this.

Needless to say, we got the flat. We had very few points and waited about eight months. If that. For me it was by faith and answer to prayer that we received the flat.

But whats the point of this particular blog. I’m not sure really. I don’t want to get on religious on you. The pastor at my church hates the word religion. He says it makes people think of all the bad things that are associated with it. Such as war, terrorism and the dodgy things some priests get up to. And I`d have to agree with him.

I’m just sharing some of the things my faith has done for me. And hopefully revive yours. (if of course it needed reviving at all!)

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9/11 Where I was

We all, well most of us anyway know where we were on that sad day. I just wanted to share how I found out the news and where I was and what I was doing at the time.
You might find it dead boring, as I probably would find your account. But here goes anyway. It’s personal to us.

It was mid afternoon I think. Id just pulled into Marble Arch from driving a london tour bus round our great city for two hours. The passengers were getting off and the tour guide came down the stairs looking at her mobile phone with a look of shock and horror on her face. I don’t know if she had a text from someone or received a news alert but I just remember her saying that a plane had hit the World Trade centre.

Id been in New York just 24 months before and have a great shot of Manhattan Island and the World Trade Centre taken from the top of The Empire State Building.
I didn’t know what the two buildings in my photograph were as much as the typical Londoner wouldn’t know what building was the Ministry of Defence or where the Stock Exchange is located.

I was on my lunch break now and the news of the air crash had spread like wildfire. Apparently it was breaking news so with that in mind I decided to head to Dixons in Oxford street to see if the t.v`s on display had the news channels on.

On arrival at Dixons I noticed a crowd had gathered outside with their heads pressed to the window. I could see nothing so pushed my way into the store where what I witnessed brings me close to tears as I write this.

Hundreds of t.v`s all over the store were showing the same channel. The same awful footage. The picture all familiar to us of the smoke billowing out of the first tower.
There was silence. People standing with open mouths and hands on their heads.
People staring blankly into the screens unable to understand what was happening.

That silence was broken by a women who had pushed her way to the front of the crowd and upon witnessing the scenes broke down in front of the screen and wept loudly. Nobody touched her. Nobody went to her aid. People were numb.
Suddenly people started to pull out their mobiles and were making frantic calls to relatives and friends.
Another lady started to cry and then the security guard switched off all the telly`s.
People protested but the guard had a job to do and to be honest I don`t think they were likely to sell any t.v`s right then.
The second plane hadn`t hit yet. I saw that later.

Theres going to be a time in all our lives where a news event will affect and make an imprint on our lives. This one was mine. I`ll always remember my mum telling me that Elvis had died. It was 1977 and I was 5 years old and remember my mum doing the ironing in the front room and telling me the news. It ment nothing to me. I didn’t know who Elvis was. But somehow I remember. Maybe the shock coming from my mother left that memory in my mind. Seeing a parent shocked or confused can have an impact on a child.

I made sure that we didn’t speak about the London bombings in front of my son. He was about 7 at the time. Children this young can become frightened by the fear shown by an adult especially a parent.
We need to protect our young ones from the evils of this world. I will sit with my 14-year-old son and watch the 10th anniversary minute by minute account on the History channel. He is old enough to see it now. But our young don’t need to see.

I remember nothing else of my shift that day.

Thats my account…what was yours?

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The Man`s Mall

I hate shopping. Clothes shopping that is. Its boring, tedious and mentally draining to the male species.
Food shopping I can do. I’ll read ingredient labels and look for cheaper alternatives, spend time in each aisles inspecting the goods on offer.
But clothes shopping should be done as quickly as possible. Buying all my clothes in one shop is the ultimate goal for me.
Oxford street? Id rather suck my eyeballs out with a vacuum.
Westfield? I can tolerate an hour, maybe 90 minutes max.
It’s minimal walking as everything under the one roof. But it’s still big enough for me to have to adopt the recovery position when I get home.

There is however one place I do like. Try to imagine a shopping centre where you are the only customer. No bumping into irate women waving their handbags. No queuing at the tills while some daft cougar exchanges all her clothes because they don`t fit as she couldn`t be bothered to try them on last time she came shopping.
No tacky fast food joints and no screaming kids.
Imagine going to a mall and having the place to yourself.
A place with spectacular views of London from the roof terrace.

Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

But this place exsists. Its right next to St.Pauls Cathedral and its called One New Change and it’s just a 15 minute walk from my flat.

It’s a fairly new mall. Opened in December 2010 and designed by architect Jean Nouvel. It has 340,000 sq ft of prestigious office space and 220,000 sq feet of shops, cafés and restaurants.

You really will be the only one in the shops most of the time. It can get a little busy during lunch time but still nothing like your average mall. Saturdays and Sundays are best. Because of its location in the square mile and lack of local knowledge to its whereabouts you really will have the place to yourselves.

If you happen to be in the area I urge you to poke your head in and take a look. The views from the roof are fantastic as you can see from the photos below.

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Rapture and Boris

With around 7 million followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses its hard to understand why so many people are part of a religion/cult which has successfully incorrectly predicted the second coming and end of time well over 10 times.
I’m not going into how they recruit followers or how they keep you as a follower because I can only go on my research and understanding of the recruiting methods.
But 7 million is a huge number of people who seem either oblivious to the incorrect predictions or are just plain stupid.
The mind boggles at people’s commitment to faith and obvious false teachings.

As are the followers of Harold Camping, a preacher from California.
According to him we will see a sudden loss of around 2% of the population tonight at around 6pm.(21st May,2011)
And in October this year if you are unsaved then you will perish on the 21st. So don’t be booking any Christmas vacations or Guy Fawkes parties.
How can people follow someone or something that can be so wrong on so many occasions?
With most cults, mind control, threats and exposure has a lot to do with it.
I don`t consider Campings church a cult. But they have certainly lost their way somewhere.

Camping is 89. Maybe this has something to do with it. The older we get the more erratic we get right?
But to his followers I say this…Don’t let tomorrows failure destroy your faith. The Bible was not wrong, you just had it interpreted wrong to you. Harold Camping and his complex string of assumptions and fact fiddling has failed you, God’s Word has not failed you.

The Bible is clear that only God knows the end time. Know one else. It’s as simple as that for Christians. The Bible is simple reading if you read a modern version such as The Message or New Living translation. Theres nothing hidden in it. No codes or hidden texts.

Preachers such as Camping and Terry Jones are the Christian equivalent of Muslim extremists. They turn their church and followers into a cult by denying essential parts of the Christian faith and deviating away from scripture.

Of course, your truly has taken steps to make sure I don’t burn in hell. But I say confidently that tonight wont be the day that you do either. Unless of course you get mowed down by a bus or something unrelated to Campings teachings.

On a brighter note however, I have a prediction of my own.
Don`t worry, I’m not a Christian extremist or false prophet.

I predict that by the end of summer 2011(lets say no later than end of September) someone will die while riding a Boris bike.
Grim I know but highly likely. So much so that I’m considering popping into Ladbrokes to see if the ll give me odds.

I’ve seen it all this week. Riding the wrong way down one way streets. Narrowly missing children innocently walking on the pavement. The list goes on and I can’t be bothered to write it all down but Its pretty horrendous, some of the silly things I’ve seen people do on these death traps.
Unfortunately for Boris the poor victim will be an American tourist or young child and the blood will be on his blonde bonce.

Theoretically the Boris bike invention is a good idea. But it doesn’t work well in central London.

So if you see my Facebook status say `I told you so` you know that my prediction came true.

For Boris bikers out there reading this. Obey the law. Live longer. Prove me wrong.
And to Mr.Camping. Can you lend me £20? Ill give it back to you tomorrow!

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The Death of the cinema

Personally if major studios Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox go ahead with their on-demand service allowing families to download the latest releases to watch at home, I believe this will bring an end to the cinema as we know it.

Traditionally, films are not released on DVD or able to be downloaded until after they have completed their run in cinemas, which usually lasts for around four months. The new service would mean consumers could instead download movies to their computers or televisions within two months of release.

Well whats the harm in that? The good points are mainly financial. For us, the consumer. No longer would we have to apply for a loan just to be able to take the family off to the movies. For a family of four today including your pic&mix and cokes you can expect to fork out around £50.

So for a one-off fee of around £18 you would be able to sit in your front room with the family and watch it on your 40″ surround sound plasma. No rip off drinks and popcorn here.

No getting a baby sitter in when you want to take the wife out to see a film. Think of the savings.

The down side is of course a step further into an isolated society.
I see this already in my eldest son. Chatting to people he has never met in real life while blowing their brains out on his Xbox 360 is all the rage now.

Technology especially the internet has ment that we don`t have to go out anymore. I’m writing this as i wait for my wife to put some money in my bank so I can go ahead and order some flowers for my Nan ONLINE.

Internet shopping means trolley rage will be a thing of the past. Kindle is killing bookstores and libraries. You can even order your pizza ONLINE so you dont have to speak to anybody. Soon the only reason to leave your house will be to go to work. And its only a matter of time before that changes.

Ok, maybe I’m being a little extreme here but I fear for the future of social interaction.

Going back to the matter in hand, it has even been suggested that the Vue, Cineworld and Odeon groups – which account for 70 per cent of the UK’s cinemas – could refuse to screen summer blockbusters this year in protest.

The cinemas are supported in their protest by more than 20 leading film-makers including James Cameron, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Heat producer Michael Mann, who have written a letter to the Hollywood studios.

Cameron, whose films include Avatar and Titanic, said: ‘The cinema experience is the wellspring of our entire business, regardless of what platforms we trickle down to. If the exhibitors are worried, I’m worried. We should be listening to them.’

The directors’ letter said the plans would ‘cannibalise theatrical ticket sales’.

Last year, Vue, Cineworld and Odeon said they would refuse to screen Tim Burton’s 3D version of Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, in the UK due to Disney’s plan to release the movie on DVD a month earlier than usual. Only Odeon went through with the threat.

I think cinemas have become too greedy. Gone are the days of the interval where the usher would stand at the front selling ice creams. Thats because by the time you’ve spent a weeks wages in the foyer on pic&mix there`s nothing left to spend in the interval!!

It’s not a good idea this downloading thing. But having said that, I would consider downloading certain films to watch in the comfort of my home. So I hold my hands up now. I will be partly to blame for the demise of the picture house. I’m sorry.

But if was a bit cheaper to go to the flicks and if I was allowed to take my own food in then id probably go a bit more. I’m British and I don`t like being ripped off.

I hope the scheme doesn’t take off. We can wait four months for the DVD can’t we?

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The Zoo, for free

So my bank holiday monday saw the family take the short drive to Regents Park to visit the zoo. Now ive been trying to avoid the trip for some time as I don`t really like queuing and crowds and stinking animals. So to go on the bank holiday monday was probably not a wise move.

I thought id whizz round the place in about 2 hours so was rather miffed at having to pay a £13 all day ticket to park in the zoo car park. Then after shelling out a further £73 for 2 adults and 2 kids(baby free) I was starting to feel a little ripped off. I live in central London so am used to the rip off prices that tourists are happy to pay and know where to `go cheap`. However there was no cheap to this visit.

To cut a long story short as the day went by I became rather impressed by the whole thing. We spent the best part of 5 and a half hours at the zoo and still didn’t see everything.

It was very different from my last visit almost 10 years ago.
The elephants were gone much to the distress of my wife.
They have been moved to Whipsnade.
But the whole zoo experience has moved with the times and gives you a real hands on experience.
For example, you can walk through several different scenarios such as the rainforest and find uncaged monkeys swinging from the trees and trying to nick your mobile phone.
Then there’s the nightlife zone with bats and rats and the wonderful aquarium and reptile house. Giant tortoises and gorillas, but not in the same area.

The bug zone showed us mating insects and a wonderful walk through butterfly world.

Giraffes, Zebras, Meerkats and Monkeys. The zoo had it all.

So much for kids to enjoy and get involved in. Bouncy castles and slides and play parks. Stories in a tee-pee and various animal shows.

Expect to come home with aching limbs.(and an empty wallet)

But while driving the short drive home I couldn`t help but wonder if there was a cheaper alternative.

And then it came to me. I see it every weekend for free.

Yes folks, for the small fee of a tube or bus ride into central London on a friday or saturday night around 11pm you can visit the zoo for free.

Not Regents Park. No, Shaftesbury Avenue. At around 11pm you can see animals(male and female) defecating in the street, mating in public and knocking the crap out of each other. You wont have to pay the best part of £90 to see it. If you re really lucky you might even have your mobile phone snatched out of your hand by one of the uncaged animals.

So if you want to visit animals that are not in their natural habitat then you should visit London Zoo.

If you want to see animals in their natural habitat and acting like baboons then you should get yourself down to the west end on a weekend night .

Either way, you will not be disappointed.

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It doesn`t matter where I am in London I nearly always get to see The Shard standing half built through the trees or looking oddly out-of-place between two buildings. I haven`t figured out yet if I like it or not.
At night it reminds me of Davros, leader of the Daleks. In daylight it looks like, well like Davros, leader of the Daleks.

We don`t have much to thank the Italians apart from an entertaining Prime minister and the jury is still out as to whether we will be thanking Renzo Piano for this latest skyscraper to grace the London skyline.
At 1,016 feet high, it towers above Canary Wharf by some 75 meters.

But it really does feel like its following me around town. Almost like I can`t escape it gaze. The sheer size of the thing is truly awesome. A good view-point is in Union Street where sits in front of you as you approach from the west.
It does look odd. There are no other tall buildings near it, apart from Guy`s but even that looks small now in comparison. And a tall building on its own does look odd. But at the same time it also attracts your sight and highlights its oddness.
I love new structures. I liked the 480ft, glass and steel Strata tower in Elephant and Castle. The tallest block of flats in the capital, it has been named the country’s most unattractive new building. But I like it.
But tall buildings DO look odd on their own. And The Shard will be no exception.
So when completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in the European Union and the 45th tallest building in the world. It will have 72 floors, plus 15 further radiator floors in the roof. It will be clad entirely in glass. The viewing gallery and open-air observation deck will be on the top (72nd) floor. A bombers paradise.

Above The Shard and below Davros. Hard to tell the difference isn`t it.

I’m kinda gonna miss the Shard when its finished. It wont look like Davros anymore. But it will look pretty spectacular as you can see from the photo below.

There are some fantastic new buildings popping up in the City and with more in the pipe line. But with about 11.9pc of City offices vacant – equivalent to 10 large city towers, one wonders why we need these tall structures?

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Bookshop for sale

When Tim Waterstone, a disaffected former WHSmith’s employee, opened his first store in Old Brompton Road in 1982, he introduced Britain to a different breed of bookshop , with sophisticated stock displayed on classy black bookshelves and sold by highly literate staff.After too rapid expansion he was forced to sell his unwieldy young company to the dreaded WHSmith in 1993. Five years later he bought it back for £300m with the help of HMV. Yet despite being made chairman of the newly created HMV Media Group, he again grew dissatisfied with the way Waterstone’s was being run. He left after three years and was made to watch, exasperated, as his original vision was diluted ever further. It comes as no surprise to see HMV are selling Waterstones and quite frankly who can blame them.
But who would want to buy a business that is making a loss?

If it doesn’t sell then we could see the end of the big high street bookshop chains as we know it.
This will be a real shame.
But why are books going the same way as vinyl?
Technology is the simple answer. Kindle and Apples devices are, as far as I’m concerned almost entirely to blame for the books demise.
If its cheaper to download or order from Amazon then why would you go to a store and pay £5 more for your book?
I know people who go into bookshops, browse, and then note down the ISBN number and go home and order the book from Amazon.
Amazon have a lot to answer for. Ok they have done wonders in selling books on the cheap and thus putting books into the hands of those who can’t afford to buy then from the big chains.
But I can’t help feeling that Amazon have kind of kicked themselves in the doo dahs. They originally sold books and by all accounts made very good money from it. Since they invented Kindle I can’t help feeling that they are digging their own grave.
I personally would not want to lay in bed holding a piece of battery operated tech to read. You can’t beat the smell and feel of a real book. The way it comes to life in your hands can’t be reproduced by Kindle. Can it?
I suppose the demise of big chain book shops could see the rise of smaller bookstores in our high street. This wont be a bad thing.

But we can’t blame the book bye-bye entirely on Amazon and Apple.
We should blame ourselves. But how can we resist the latest e-book reader? 25% of e-book owners said they found the device easier to take on holidays. Fair enough. But most people only take one holiday a year and that would make your e-book reader redundant for 11/11 and a half months a year.
I can see the book becoming like vinyl very soon indeed. I can imagine my sons children’s looking at a book like it was something from another period in time. Sad but true.

The French take their books more seriously. Recently they took Amazon to court in order to ban them from offering free post and packing. Libraries are opening rather than shutting as in the U.K.

They also have a law called the Lang law.
The Lang Law works as follows:

The publisher decides on a price for its book and prints it on the back
Booksellers are not allowed to sell a book for a discount of more than 5% below the publisher’s price.

The Lang Law was passed under pressure from small booksellers, who feared competition from big stores.

The presidents of the French publishers, booksellers and cultural product distributors associations have written to Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand urging the government to introduce a parliamentary bill to extend fixed book pricing to e-books.

I hated the transition from tape and vinyl to cd, but soon got used to it. I hated the change of VHS to DVD but now embrace it. Walkman to Ipod could only be loved. Video recorder to Sky+? The greatest. But good old paper book to e-book reader? No not for me. I know in time I’ll change my mind. But for now im championing the book. It is one of the last pieces of entertainment that we can touch, feel, smell and see. Technology is fantastic but at the same time can deprive us of treasured items from yester-year.

And as for Waterstones? Maybe the French could buy it!

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Japanese wailing(whaling)

There is a lot of really silly talk on the web at the moment which has led me to feel the need to write this post.
Lots of Facebook status`s and twitter posts along with certain blogs ive read would imply that Japan deserved the disaster they are currently undergoing.

The most common opinions being that the tsunami is overdue karma for Pearl Harbor and for killing whales.
This is the kind of crap I expect to hear from the vile people with no teeth who appear on the Jeremy Kyle show or from ill-informed kids in the playground at school who pretend to know what they are talking about.
These are extreme views. They are dangerous and we should steer clear of them.

I’m going to lay out a few facts to these small-minded people and try to change their mindsets.
I wonder to myself why I’m even wasting my time responding to this diarrhea but it has angered me so much that I need to get it off my chest so to speak and try to make people see things a little different.

Lets deal with the Pearl Harbour thing first.
Pearl Harbour happened 70 odd years ago so that would make the Japanese men who were involved and if still alive well into their 90s.
I don`t think we need to look any further into that one do we.

Second opinion that people have is to do with the whales.
`They desevere it cause they kill whales`
Makes you proud to be British doesn`t it?
Its culture clash gone mad. Stupid mindless uneducated claptrap.
So the Japanese deserved the earthquake which led to the tsunami which is now leading to a nuclear disaster because they kill whales. Beggars believe doesn’t it.
People who write or think such rubbish should take a look on our own doorstep first.

We kill foxes. Doesn`t sound that bad does it until you delve deeper into it. Yes its banned now to some degree but open your eyes people, it still goes on. Foxes are hunted down into their dens where their poor little cubs lay in wait for their parent fox to come home with food. Only, on a hunt the parent fox comes home with a pack of hounds in hot pursuit. The hounds then dig their way into the den where they then pull out the petrified cubs and the parent fox and proceed to rip them into shreds while the group of hunters sit on their horses and watch. Japan? No Britain.

We don`t treat hens much better.
There are 30,000,000 chickens in this country – 85% of these are ‘living’ in Battery Farms. Yes 85%. The minimum legal requirement of space for one bird is just under three-quarters the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Go get a sheet of printing paper and look at it.
Over 2,000,000 chickens die in their cages each year from disease caused by improper control of faeces clearing.
Chicken beaks are CUT OFF to stop them causing too much damage to each other.
They spend approximately 72 weeks in this condition before they are slaughtered for pet food, even pies for us.
By then, most are suffering from painful brittle bones caused by standing on the wire bottoms of their cages.
Japan? No, good old Blighty.

Halal slaughter
Halal is one of the most cruel ways to slaughter animals. Halal means 2 1/2 cut of the throat. To prepare halal meat, the animal has its throat slit and bled to death, whilst bleeding the animal is still alive and in tremendous pain. Japan? No, Great Britain people.

`Well I don’t eat Halal meat.` Sorry to disappoint you mindless fools but yes you do. We all do.
Britain’s biggest supermarket chains are selling halal lamb and chicken without telling unsuspecting shoppers.

Those stocking meat slaughtered according to Islāmic law include Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield and the Co-op.
And a Mail on Sunday investigation has found that fast-food chains including Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, KFC, ­Nando’s and Subway are also using halal meat WITHOUT ­telling customers.

Most lamb imported from New Zealand by British supermarkets has been slaughtered according to Muslim law, but this is NOT mentioned on packaging. Some lamb from British abattoirs is also halal.

So now we have had a brief look at the cruelty that goes on in our OWN country let’s try to understand whaling.

The Japanese have eaten whale meat since the 12th century. And guess what? We used to eat horse meat in this country up untill the 1930s. Yes horse meat. You know, them lovely four-legged creatures that we see bounce around in fields. We used to EAT them. In fact the slaughter, preparation and consumption of horses for food is not against the law. You can still buy horse meat in supermarkets and butchers but it is minimal, and most of the horse meat consumed in the UK is imported from Europe, predominantly the South of France, where it is more widely available.

So the eating of whale meat while may seem strange and unusual to us, is normal in another country. I’m not saying I agree with it or the way they are killed but we must remind ourselves of how we treat animals in this country before we blurt out narrow-minded stupidness on Facebook, Twitter or whatever it may be.

Inceidently, whale meat is a luxury meat now in Japan and has been for several decades. Granted, years ago it made up 50% of the meat consumed in Japan but now days its like us treating ourselves to a nice bit of expensive steak once in a while. Whale meat saved Japan from starvation during world war two.

Recent research, in the summer of 2006, showed that 95% of Japanese NEVER or RARELY eat whale meat and that 69% of Japanese do NOT support whaling in the Southern Ocean. Read this paragraph again and think about it.

In 2007 more than 4,000 tonnes of whale meat sat frozen, unsold, and unwanted in Japanese warehouses.

People are afraid and disgusted by things they don`t understand. Thats why there is so much anti Japan posts and blogs. People don`t understand other cultures.

I’m hoping this blog will help you to realise that we are not perfect in any way shape or form and should curb our tongues from wagging about other cultures and maybe instead put our time into finding out about these cultures and why they do what they do, eat what they eat and live how they live.

Japan needs our prayers and good wishes now and not our bad blogs or silly status reports. They are a decent people whom we should look up to and see how they respect each other and how honest they are.

You will NOT have seen one report of looting in Japan.
They are honest people.
Unlike us Brits. You will remember reports of people scavenging motorbikes on the Devon coast back in 2007, when the contents of a container ship were washed ashore. In the same year, police investigated reports of looting at flood-hit properties in West Yorkshire.
And hurricane Katrina. Remember the looting there?
The Japanese legal structure rewards honesty.

And to the brave men and women who are at the Fukushima plant laying down their lives trying to keep the fuel rods cool to save Japan. I take my hat off to you all.
Makes you wonder that if the same thing happened here to one or more of the 23 nuclear power stations dotted around the UK would anyone here lay down their life to save you?

Japan wails. Pray for them.

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